RIP Jean-Sebastien Belleau
Photo: JS, Eric and Matias celebrating Matias’ 30th birthday at Mugshots in 2015
Words by Eric Scharf & Matías Muñoz. Photo by Ming Wu.
Jean-Sebastien Belleau, better known as JS, known to some as Johnny Moon-Hammock, but known by all as the most loveable and one of the most dedicated members of the Ottawa music scene has passed away.
Many people recognized JS by that amazingly well coiffed handlebar moustache he rocked for years. It was his outward facing calling card and the inspiration for a song by Jon Creeden. Others may know him as the man who when he wasn’t at the front of the stage singing at the top of his lungs, was probably crowd surfing no matter how low the ceiling was. But almost everyone in the punk and rock scene in Ottawa knows that no one went to as many shows as JS did.
He was, however, much more than just a man with an illuminating smile, rocking cut-off shorts and drinking tall cans at shows. He loved adventure, softball, snowboarding, bike riding, nature, slack lines, and so much more. His body was a canvas for his friends to make art on, and one thigh was reserved for album covers from his friends’ bands. Not to mention he was a trailblazer in bringing back the Hawaiian shirt style, in all its glory. He spoke passionately about getting off the grid and making his own shipping container house out in the woods. On the softball diamond his high socks and short-shorts were as constant as his line drives and joie de vive. He was our punk rock Cal Ripkin.
His hair colour changed, his facial hair changed (to much chagrin – I mean, who messes with a perfect lip rug like that?), but his kind, caring, and selfless demeanor never dissipated. I think the only mean thing JS ever did was ice people with 1 litre bottles (see here) of Smirnoff Ice, and even then you couldn’t help but laugh. As someone else said, he was so generous and helpful he would give you the shirt of his back. Hell, he would give you his pants too, even if he just met you.
You’d feel the pull of JS’ tractor beam as soon as he walked in a room. His strong, long, and lanky arms were the best for giving firm hugs, and great for launching himself over and on top of a crowd. Whether he was arm in arm with you belting out the hook of a punk rock song you both knew, or the way he genuinely told you how he felt about you in earnest, JS was the kind of person who was his essential self at all times – raw to the core and free of pretension. He was loyal, unwavering in his love for his friends and passionately dedicated to his community. He accepted you for everything you are.
If you ever need a good laugh, just go back and look at a few of his infamous stallfies. You just couldn’t not look at them.
He successfully pulled off Fuck You JS (FYJS) Fest in 2015, an endeavour that was purely meant to bring some great bands together into the same room as his best friends. He brought in Prevenge, Dig It Up, Gag Order, Alcohol Fueled, and more, to play alongside buds in Dead Weights, Jon Creeden, and Cory Levesque. You could be in the dark depths of TARG, in a sweaty living room house show (Robot House, obviously), or peeing in the urinal right beside him, and he’d make sure you felt right at home.
On behalf of the Ottawa music community and friends of JS, we send our deepest condolences to his family in this difficult time.
So, here’s to you JS. We will always love you. We raise our cheapest tallboys up for you. RIP friend.
Without that handlebar smile we will all sing a little less. – Jon Creeden